Blog: Foreign Player influx – Progression or Regression?
Zambianfootball.co.zm’s coach Franklin Malambo takes a look at the hot issue of the influx of foreigners into the Zambian Super League.
In the last 8 years, there has been only two strikers who have reached the 20 league goal mark in the Zambian Super League
Congolese born Patrick Kabamba grabbed 20 goals from 20 appearances in 2009.
Fast track to the 2016, born to Congolese father and Zambian mother, and raised up in Congo, Nkana’s Walter Binene Bwalya smashed the goal scoring chats with 24 league goals.
Kenyan striker Jesse Were came second and then the likes Patson Daka and Fashion Sakala didn’t not even grab 15 goals each.
The case of foreign based players in the league can also be highlighted in newly promoted side Buildcom. They had about 8 Congolese players in their ranks in Division 1, the same can be said with Idriss Mbombo and Marcel Kalonda in 2015 when they steered Kabwe Warriors back to the Super League. Both are now at Zesco United.
Actually the past 3-4 seasons have shown an increase in the number of foreign nationals on team sheets for a number of Zambian Super League sides from the top sides to the tail end of the log predorminantly Congolese and a few other select countries.
Is it because our League has become so lucratively attractive in terms of renumerations?
Could it be that it is being used as a stepping stone?
Or Is our system so weak that everyone will come and play riding on the fact that they are ‘foreign’ and want to use it as leverage?
Who benefits more? Is it the Individual players, the clubs or Zambian football?
Let us take a closer look at this topic as we highlight the key positives and negatives.
In most cases than not, it improves the proffesionalism in teams.
Because foreigners are here solely in the country for work, their level of commitment and professionalism rubs off on to the local players.
It also helps clubs manage their playing personel better and do things better administratively.
Further, it increases the following for our league in the home countries of the players that ply their trade here.
That means more publicity and clubs can take advantage of the same through sale of merchandise in foreign lands.
Additionally, having foreign players awakens the locals and makes them aim for higher grounds and gives them insight on ddifferent approach and playing styles.
Frustrates Youth Policies – Our Youth Policy is almost non existent in clubs nowander their is no constant supply of quality players to the local teams.
Always going for a foreign finished product eliminates the local producer effectively.
Long term effect is the collapsing of even the little that we have standing.
Reduces National Selection Pool– one foreign player coming in translates to one chance of a local being taken away.
Few locals playing, means few locals form selection pool and limited human resources to be considered for national assignments.
Not only quantity is affected but crucially quality too. Fans cry when they see same faces without results.
Locals feel marginalised especially with the huge differences in wages and other incentives.
Less Competitive National Teams – Because funds are chanelled into bringing foreign players by clubs their is no proper education at Junior level and our age restricted teams will struggle to compete against their peers from other countries where they receive due attention.
Way forward –
Clubs to invest in youth – Not only U20/17 but go further with U14,12 and 10 where basic yet crucial aspects are taught. It will keep the supply line on.
FAZ through Sports Ministry to patner Ministry of Education and revisit schools football. Its a cost effective measure in place of academies. Empower local Coaches with tailored training to produce the right players that clubs want. The Best produce comes at a cost.
Foreign Quotas – Protect our present and most importantly the future by restricting the number foreigners. Four in a team must be maximum and six for those playing continenental.
Lower divison sides must not even be allowed to have even one .
Individuals and companies run clubs and their spending power is theirs to determine but market needs urgent regulation.
In all football dealings and programs, the ultimate beneficiary Must be Zambia and Zambian Football. Clubs may be seeing the benefits for their teams yet no club must be bigger than Zambia. Our football has not grown to the leaps and bounds both in standard and Income bracket and as such we must be careful as to where our football is going.
In all things its important to know the value of values and that direction is important than speed. 10 Years from now, shall we say our football progressed or regressed?
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